⚾️⚾️ The Morning Briefing: Director of Player Development not returning next season
Here are the latest headlines and analyses around the Washington Nationals and Major League Baseball for today, October 4.
Good Morning Washington Nationals Fan,
Here are the latest headlines and analyses around the Washington Nationals and Major League Baseball for today, October 4, 2023. I am Haden Raymer, let’s dive into the news.
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Leading today’s Morning Briefing: Director of Player Development De Jon Watson not returning
After just two seasons with the Nationals organization, they have moved on from the director of player development that they brought in to modernize the organization. According to The Washington Post, which broke the news, this move is the first of another wave of moves after the Nationals parted ways with at least a dozen other members of the organization earlier this September.
In that same report, sources said that these moves also fall in line with one primary motivation, reduce the front office budget.
Why it matters: Firing front office personnel, especially on a rebuilding team like the Nationals, will always make news. These dismissals raise two concerns. One, did their actions potentially slow down a rebuild? Two, why are we cutting the front office budget?
While I am sure all of these people are competent at their job, you don’t see teams dying to come interview and steal away members of the Nationals front office. There are certainly better candidates for these jobs out there, so firing them is not necessarily a concern. Doing so in the name of trimming the budget is a concern though.
Under Watson’s watch, there were concerning trends among players. Robert Hassell III and Jarlin Susana are looking like the two worst pieces that returned in the Juan Soto trade. Outfielder Jeremy De La Rosa took a step back.
When you listen around the league, most front offices agree that there is one goal right now. To build a sustainable winner. Being able to develop quality players season after season is a big key to that. You can do that in many ways. You can be like the Seattle Mariners, who seem to be able to turn anyone into a quality high-leverage reliever. Or you can be like the Los Angeles Dodgers, who seemingly have a top farm system and an abundance of top 100 prospects every season.
Frankly, the Nationals haven’t been able to do that in recent years, which is the reason they are rebuilding. That is okay. It is hard to build that consistent winner. Just look up the Beltway, where the Baltimore Orioles had to endure five straight losing seasons, including three 100-loss seasons. And here they are now, winning the American League East and 101 games.
Right now, the future is uncertain. All we can do is hope that the Nationals bring on the best candidates for the job. And they have a lot of jobs to fill.
This is not the Free Agency you are Looking for
Below is an excerpt from a perspective piece I wrote that went out on this site last night. Obviously, I am slightly biased, but I think it’s worth a read.
Free agency brings back the joys of being a little kid. You’re walking down the toy aisle, beaming at all the different toys that you want. For some, it may be an action figure, or a LEGO set, or maybe even that new Hot Wheels car. But then you leave, often with no toy in hand. As you check the free agent lists, you may want a starting pitcher, or a third baseman, or maybe even that closer. This year’s free agency for the Nationals is likely to be no different than that trip to the toy store, leaving empty-handed.
Unfortunately for the Nationals, without trading away players or cutting out early on guaranteed contracts, their roster is set in stone. They have seven potential starting pitchers for next season. That number will climb to eight once Cade Cavalli returns from Tommy John surgery this summer. Kyle Finnegan, Hunter Harvey, Tanner Rainey, Jordan Weems, Robert Garcia, and Jose A. Ferrer all seem locked to return to the bullpen.
Most of the position player core, including Lane Thomas, CJ Abrams, and Keibert Ruiz are locked in for 2024, and most of the shuffling could come internally.
MLB Postseason Begins
The MLB Postseason kicked off yesterday with four games in the Wild Card Series.
Rangers 4, Rays 0: The Tampa Bay Rays committed four errors behind Tyler Glasnow, who struck out eight batters. Jordan Montgomery threw seven scoreless innings for the Texas Rangers. Rays’ Randy Arozarena and Rangers’ Evan Carter were the stars offensively, both getting two knocks. Carter went 2-2 with two doubles and two walks, while Arozarena went 2-4 with a double.
Twins 3, Blue Jays 1: Royce Lewis powered the Minnesota Twins to their playoff victory in 19 years, going 2-3 with two home runs. Former National Michael A. Taylor made some nice plays defensively to prevent the Toronto Blue Jays from scoring more than one run.
Diamondbacks 6, Brewers 3: The D-Backs put on a show, hitting three home runs off former Cy Young winner Corbin Burnes. The Milwaukee Brewers failed to score a run after the second inning.
Phillies 4, Marlins 1: The NL East matchup was a one-sided affair with the Phillies taking the lead in the bottom of the third inning and never giving it up. The Phillies offense got 11 hits. Former Nat Trea Turner stole two bases.
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